an initiative of ACCORD

Body Odour

Body odour – WHY?

Unpleasant body odour can arise from:

  • chemicals in sweat
  • skin bacteria that thrive in warm, moist, dark places
  • wastes excreted through the skin (e.g. metabolised alcohol)
  • unwashed clothes
  • skin infections

Some odour is a good thing – pheromones in our sweat play an important role in sexual attraction. But in Australian society it is generally accepted that people should minimise unpleasant body odour.

Factors such as your activity level, lifestyle, bodyweight, and amount of sweat produced affect your body odour. Body odour also changes with age and stage of life. For example, during puberty is when many people start to notice changes to how their body smells.

Controlling body odour – HOW?

For some people, daily bathing will satisfactorily reduce body odour. Another easy way of reducing odour is to keep clothes fresh and clean.

Many people choose to use anti-perspirants or deodorants. Anti-perspirants block underarm pores to reduce sweat; deodorant doesn’t prevent sweating but uses antiseptic to kill odour-causing bacteria. Both types of product are available in ranges for women and for men, in roll-on, spray, stick and cream formats, and in a broad range of fragrances and varieties to make you smell good and feel confident.

Shaving underarm hair can also help reduce body odour. Having hair in this region traps sweat, meaning that the armpit stays moist for longer and can encourage bacterial growth which leads to odour.

useful stuff...

The human body may be home to 10 times as many bacteria as human cells. Researchers believe the human body has over 500 bacterial species living in and on it.7 Trouble getting a date? 75% of women in a New York survey said they would only date a guy who showered daily.8   20-30% of handbags have faecal bacteria on the underside.22 In 2006, women spent an average of 54 minutes and men 43 minutes per day on personal hygiene.9
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